That’s what one friend told me once, when I was researching different ways to store beer, or “cellar” beer. Let’s look at some alternatives.
First off, not all beer is meant to be stored long-term. Beers with “fresh” ingredients, such as a super fresh hopped IPA, generally aren’t as tasty two years down the road. They’ll be interesting, for sure, but the hop flavor tends to go stale.
Barrel-aged beers, sours, stouts, porters, other super malty brews, these are beers that age well. Low hops, high malt, and high gravity. When you age a beer, the flavors tend to mellow and even out. It’s also nice to have beer on hand. If you have a good cellar, you can find a beer for any situation or pairing.
My collection was pretty small until my visit to Total Bev. I think I had about four bottles of commercial and one or two homebrews. Then I gained another dozen and a half, and storage became an issue.
So, the topic at hand is how to store beer. Especially if space is an issue. If you’re trying to age your beer, you don’t want to store it at your normal fridge temperature. That’s too cold, and it will take many years for any noticeable change to occur. Room temperature is definitely an option, unless you live in a hot climate. Let’s not microwave that bottle of Stone Vertical Epic 02.02.02, alright?
55˚ or so seems to be a good standard for aging beers. Keep it out of the light. Keep it upright.
Also, remember to be patient. I know, it’s hard to see all that beer sitting on the shelf and not be tempted to open a few. When you’re buying beer for storing, buy at least two bottles. One of them you’ll want to open and drink right away. This serves two purposes. One, you can see if you like it. If not, it might not be worth storing it for years, just to be disappointed with the outcome. Two, it serves as a base for comparison. Take notes if that’s your style. Then, when you decide to open the beer’s pair, you can compare how it aged. Science!
If your place of living maintains a moderate temperature, you could just store your beer in a nice cool dark closet. Bam, done.
If not, you might need to purchase equipment.
Go on craigslist.org. Buy a fridge or chest freezer. Get a temperature control device, such as this one from Northern Brewer. Put your beer in it. Open it a year later. Enjoy. You can also buy a wine fridge, except that that forces you to store your beer on its side. Not as advised as upright storage, but it works.
There is a lot of great information out there on more specifics on long term beer storage. Here are a few, should you want to pursue the topic further:
- Beer Advocate – How To Store Beer
- Beer Utopia – How (and why) to age beer
- The Brew Basement – A blog on beer storage
- Brew Advice – How to store beer
- Brew Advice – Beer Refrigeration Suggestions (Long Term)
How do you store your beer? Leave some tips or some pictures of your stock pile!